We continue our exploration of external hardware for controlling Max by investigating two popular devices: the Gametrak and the Wiimote.
The Gametrak is a wired controller featuring two joysticks, each of which has a retractable string (often called “tether”) that provides you with a Z axis, in addition to the X and Y axes of the joystick. The tether connects to the base of the joystick with fishing line. The absence of any wireless technology in the Gametrak makes this device very reliable and easy to use. Its long tethers (about 10 feet) also allow for expressive use by dancers or musicians who like to move around. The absence of wireless technology also meant that this device died in the gaming marketplace. (It was originally sold as a controller for a golf game.) So they are no longer easily obtainable.
The much more well-known Nintendo Wii Remote (a.k.a. Wiimote) connects to the computer using Bluetooth and provides several buttons, as well as gravitational measurements in three dimensions, which let you track your arm motions. You can also shake the Wiimote to generate a trigger. To make the Wiimote work with Max, we use a Mac-only application called OSCulator. This app receives raw data from the Wiimote and converts it to MIDI or Open Sound Control (OSC) messages, and then sends these to Max using an appropriate transport scheme (Inter-application MIDI or Internet Protocol). It also simplifies Bluetooth pairing of the Wiimote with the computer.
We will work with these two controllers and also learn how to derive triggers from continuous data and route data to different musical parameters.